All photos and text by Jack Rothman
All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.

Copyright 2015

Updated 1/14/15

Located in the Bronx, New York, City Island is a small island, approximately one mile long and a quarter mile wide. City Island is surrounded by Eastchester Bay on one side and Long Island Sound on the other. Its bridge attaches to a roadway adjacent to Pelham Bay Park, New York City's largest park. In this area, and in the waters and wetlands, in and around City Island, many bird species thrive. Here, several and varied migratory birds are found. This website was created to help study, appreciate, and protect all the birds of this area.

Save Forests and Save Birds

Ancient Boreal forests are being cut down for 
Toilet Tissue, Paper Towels and Catalogs!

City Island Birds
Since 2007

Birding Advocacy

More than 80,000 people have viewed this page.

Welcome to City Island Birds. I created this website because this area of New York City is little known and underutilized by birdwatchers and other nature lovers. Pelham Bay Park, with its woods and wetlands is a critical stopover and nesting area to many migratory species.

Photos and Results of Our Past Walks
2007- 2010

Winter Bird Walk- January 9
First Spring Walk- April 17
Easter Walk- April 24
Split Rock-Mother’s Day Walk- May 7 
Turtle Cove “Watch”- June 26
Raptor and Waterfowl Walk- Nov. 27
Owl Walk- March 24
Owlet Walk April 15, 2012
Spring “Migration Madness” Walk- May 6
Clapper Rail Walk- May 27   
Fall Migration Walk- Sept. 23, 2012
Migration Walk- October 14, 2012
Last Minute Barred Owl Walk- Dec. 9, 2012
Bronx Brooklyn Walk- January 12
Spring Migration Walk- May 5
Three Club Walk-  August 24
Fall Migration Walk 2013
Owlet Walk- April 13
Spring Migration Walk -May 10
Fall Migration Walk-October 12
After Thanksgiving Walk- Nov. 20Previous_Birdwalks.htmlWinter_Bird_Walk.htmlEarly_Spring_Migration_Walk.htmlEaster_Walk.htmlSplit_Rock-_Mothers_Day_Walk.htmlTurtle_Cove_%22Watch%22.htmlRaptor_and_Waterfowl_Walk.htmlOwl_Walk.htmlOwlet_Walk.htmlMigration_Madness.htmlClapper_Rail_walk.htmlFall_Migration_Walk.htmlFall_Migration_2012.htmlbarred_Owl_Walk.htmlBronx_Brooklyn_Walk.htmlSpring_Migration_2013.htmlThree_Club_Walk.htmlFall_Migration_2013.htmlOwlet_Walk_2014.htmlSpring_Migration_2014.htmlFall_Migration_2014.htmlAfter-Thanksgiving.htmlshapeimage_9_link_0shapeimage_9_link_1shapeimage_9_link_2shapeimage_9_link_3shapeimage_9_link_4shapeimage_9_link_5shapeimage_9_link_6shapeimage_9_link_7shapeimage_9_link_8shapeimage_9_link_9shapeimage_9_link_10shapeimage_9_link_11shapeimage_9_link_12shapeimage_9_link_13shapeimage_9_link_14shapeimage_9_link_15shapeimage_9_link_16shapeimage_9_link_17shapeimage_9_link_18shapeimage_9_link_19shapeimage_9_link_20shapeimage_9_link_21


Barnacle Goose at Orchard Beach

Jack Rothman


Traveling and Birding the Amazon

Several people have requested information about our trip to the Amazon.

Birding Interest- Past Articles

Important and Useful

The Wild Bird Fund   (Animal Rehabber)

New York Tide Chart

Urban Park Rangers

NY State Parks

Birdcast (Migration Reports)


City Island?
Pelham Bay Park Map
City Island Community
Directions Here
City Island Birding ClubCIB_Club.html

This is the Couch’s Kingbird. I took this photo in Bishop, Texas in 2013 but this bird has been seen in Greenwich Village in NYC until a day ago, a state record! Most likely it’s still around the area of 11th and 4th street.

This is one odd duck. I photographed it last week on Turtle Cove pond. It’s part Gadwall and part “I don’t know.” The copper colored head makes it quite interesting.

Binocular and Smartphone Help

If you’re not familiar with how your computer or smartphone can help you be a better and more successful birder, you should read my little primer, link here.

If you need or want a new pair of binoculars, you might want to begin here. Binoculars have really changed in the last few years. You can get a fantastic pair for a few hundred dollars and a really good pair for less than $200. Years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much choice. You should link here for ratings.

The Kazimiroff Nature Trail of Hunter Island
You may have noticed the new signs posted along the paths on Hunter island. The numbers correlate to different features of the “Island.” If you link below, you can find out what each sign post means. Dr. Kazimiroff was a noted Bronx naturalist. The trail marked in his honor winds through the largest and most natural of all of NYC parks. This area was once hunting and fishing grounds and the site of huge mansions. To find out more, print and bring the guide with you on your next walk. Kazimiroff Trail.pdf


This Barred Owl has been seen in the park inconsistently. If you know the park, you know the areas to check. There was a Long-eared Owl too. Four Great Horned Owls were found on the Christmas Bird Count.

It’s difficult to get a clear photo of a Long-eared Owl. This photo was taken a few years ago. The Long-eared seen recently has been high in a tree and quite concealed.

Back in the day,”  we would find four or five Saw-whets, like this one, in the park in one day. Sometimes we could also find four or five Long-eared Owls in one tree. Saw-whets seem to be a lot scarcer these past few years. It may be because much of the invasive plant species have been removed. These invasive plants provided rodents lots of berries, which increased their population. Saw-whets hung around to feast on the rodents.

Great Horned, Saw-whet, Long-eared, and Barred Owls....

They’ve all been seen in the park this winter. The problem is they haven’t been seen with any consistency. In past years they seemed to remain in one location but this season they are seen one day and go missing the next. If you’re anxious to see them, I suggest checking as often as possible in known locations of the park. Because of the horrible weather, I’ve not been in the park much. First it was all the rain and then the extreme wind and cold that kept me from walking the park. This week the weather will ameliorate and I expect to check out the park.

The last time I walked up the path to Hunter Island, I heard gunshots and I knew it was duck hunting season. Although duck hunting is not allowed in NYC, it is allowed further north. When I arrived at one of the lookouts on Hunter Island there were few ducks around. The thousands of scaup that had been there for the Christmas count and before found safe refuge somewhere else. Today, I checked and they have returned.    

This and other Peregrine Falcons find the puddles in the Orchard Beach Parking lot a great place for a bath. Merlins have also been seen bathing there.

The 2014 Christmas Bird Count

The Bronx-Westchester Christmas Bird Count was held on December 28. We met in George’s Restaurant at 6:30 AM. Participants broke up into groups so we could cover the areas assigned to us in the East Bronx. The count is headed by Michael Bochnik for the Bronx and Westchester and our local leader is Dave Kunstler. The weather was not appealing. It was raining and raw and there were lots of puddles. I was really happy to have eight participants to help me scour Rodman’s Neck. Unfortunately three of them were needed for another section, so five of us walked the trails. What a wonderful group we had. The only one complaining about the weather and mud was me. We had great spirit and it was really fun. By mid morning the rain stopped and birding became easier. Most of the bird we saw were waterfowl. Rodman’s neck has been cleared by the Parks Department of invasive plant species and there’s little foliage left, hence few passerines.

By 12:30 we went back to George’s to tally our results.

Here’s a preliminary account: “The 91st Bronx-Westchester CBC found a preliminary 124 species, just 2 shy of its record on Sunday December 28, 2014. Highlights included a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the Bronx Zoo, an Indigo Bunting at Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, Great and Snowy Egret in Pelham Bay Park and a Glaucous Gull off Milton Point in Rye. Other finds were all three scoters and Northern Gannet in Long Island Sound, a Ring-necked Pheasant in Soundview Park, 3 Merlin, 14 Eastern Bluebirds, 3 Common Yellowthroats, 2 Palm Warblers,White-crowned Sparrow and three Pine Siskin. New high count was set for Gadwall, second year in a row with 480.” 

Look here for more detailed results: